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Two words to strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest, wisest international HR teams… 

Global payroll.  

If you have a global organisation (or soon will) then you’ll know that to keep everyone happy and the business efficient, keeping your payroll running smoothly is key. Managing global payroll is hugely demanding. And to do it well is the biggest challenge many HR departments will face!  


Common challenges in global payroll

Once you’re dealing with offices in multiple locations and territories, your payroll system is complicated. There’ll be obstacles, but the trick is to be aware of what they might be. Then, you can tackle them. Let’s shed some light on some of potential challenges you might face when it comes to global payroll management: 

  1. Every country brings a different set of rules. What information do you need to run your payroll? When and how should it be gathered and inputted? You need to find a common standard.   
  2. And that goes for the legal side of payroll too. Country to country, all different. All changing. All those variables – again, you need to make sure everything is compliant.  
  3. Technology can be another red flag. Systems don’t always integrate smoothly. That could be the understatement of the century so, let’s put it into perspective.   It’s one thing to sync your phone contacts to your car. It’s a bit tricky so you might just skip it… but it’s a whole other thing syncing a system that will simultaneously pay one employee in Australia in AU Dollars and another in France in Euros. You can’t just skip that! 
  4. Data. We’re talking inputting it and keeping it safe. You might be up to date right now, in Oslo, but how about in two hours’ time, and how about in Helsinki, and Kathmandu? Managing all that data can be a headache.  
  5. If you’re expanding into new territories, you might not have an entity set up, you might not really know the local customs, there may be language barriers. In fact, it’s most probably an all-round case of being a bit short of in-country expertise. It might be time to get some local help. 
  6. And then there’s things you just can’t always foresee, like…  
    • Natural disasters.  
    • Political or social unrest.  
    • Those moments when the tech just lets you down, and you can’t quite work out why. And usually, it’s on the day your pay run is scheduled. 

We all need a parachute sometimes. So, it’s good to have it packed and ready for those ‘what now?’ moments.


How to overcome common challenges in global payroll

There we have it. Global payroll isn’t easy. But none of the best things worth having ever are. So, let’s look at some solutions... 


1. Standardise payroll processes

Get all your ducks in a row with a standardisation of all your processes. Whether it’s setting up new employees, aligning pay cycles, managing payslip distribution, or checking the tax calculations, make sure it’s uniform across your organisation. Using a global partner could help streamline all your processes.

There’s no one size fits all in payroll, but working with a global payroll service will ensure you build a system that works for you. Wherever you are in the world. This way you can make sure your payroll date is consistent and accurate 


2. Keep up-to-date with local payroll regulations

We’ve said it before, but the key to good payroll is compliance. And you need to make sure your payroll is always correct and legal. In a global marketplace you’re going to encounter different regulations and tax laws for every region.

Things move fast and it’s impossible to have your ear to the ground when that ground is all over the place. You need some local knowledge to keep you on track. Outsourcing your global payroll to someone with just that local info would guarantee you react quickly to any changes in legislation and are fully compliant pronto. 


3. Use the latest technology

Technology lives in our pockets. And we have become very used to that. We’re so reliant on it in so many ways, not least for efficiency and getting things done.

But we all know what a pain in the neck it is when it doesn’t quite give us the smooth, speedy results we need. Logging into different platforms being used by different offices to retrieve all the data you need is laborious and impractical.

An all-singing, all-dancing advanced payroll system will be a great investment. No more faulty calculations or late global payroll payments as the tech is a bit cranky or slow. Your payroll team will soon see the benefits of a platform which can take multiple currencies and payment methods in its stride.  Errors will diminish and global payroll compliance is guaranteed. 


4. Manage payroll data effectively

A big global company has a big global workforce. There’s a lot of data involved in hiring and managing and retaining and paying all those employees.   And you need to know that all that information is up to date. And accurate, across all your systems, all your departments and all your global offices.

An integrated HR and payroll system which safely stores all your data and is accessible across all your locations is the dream.  Not only will it keep the errors at bay, but it will also instantly keep all your calculations updated and compliant.

You also want your employees to feel secure in the knowledge that all their personal information is secure. Data security is a huge challenge; every country needs you to handle this in a different way. A global payroll provider will understand all these varying requirements and will guarantee each employees’ data is protected. Peace of mind for employee and employer.  


5. Partner with local providers

Having the inside track. Being in the know. A lot has been said about local knowledge. We might be sounding like a stuck record, but we can’t stress enough how important this can be. Especially when we’re dealing with something as intricate as a payroll cycle. And more specifically, a really great payroll process.

Sometimes it’s best to accept that you need a helping hand, and a local payroll provider might just be that extra help you need to help navigate all those local regulations and slightly different ways of doing things. Which will do the trick if you’re only working in one or two international locations.

If you’re going truly global, you need to go for the global payroll partner option to really streamline all your payroll and see your HR teams in every outpost of your business reap the rewards. Just Payroll Services could be that partner.


6. Have a contingency plan

Be prepared! Stuff can go wrong; stuff will go wrong. But if you have points 1 to 5 covered, then you’re looking pretty organised. The odds are stacked in your favour.

Not much will mess with you running the best payroll your business has ever known. Short of a global power cut, or a global pandemic …. (but hopefully, this is where your contingency plans come into play!).

As a payroll team you need to have a plan in place that allows you to manage payroll no matter what kind of crisis you’re facing. And a fully managed international payroll service means everything is covered for you: so no stress, no matter what.


Why a fully managed international payroll service is your best bet

So, down to business. Payroll is hard, but you’ve got this. One centralised payroll team might struggle to be on top of the intricacies and nuances in all your international locations. And it may not be feasible to have a payroll team on site in each place – you know how difficult it’s to hire the right in-house payroll professionals across the globe and let’s not even get started on the expense.   

But partnering with a global payroll outsourcing team could be the answer. At Just Payroll Services, we know that a good payroll service is not a replacement for employees, but more like an added superpower. An asset to make your workforce stronger, more efficient, effortlessly compliant. 

We love to talk about payroll. And we pride ourselves on working with our clients to create the perfect solution for the challenges they face. Find out more about our fully managed international payroll services so that you can see the difference they can make to your business. Get in touch!